Senegal president calls off February 25 electionSat, 03 Feb 2024 17:53:23 GMT

Senegalese President Macky Sall on Saturday announced the indefinite postponement of a presidential election scheduled for February 25, just hours before official campaigning was due to start.In an address to the nation, Sall said he signed a decree abolishing a previous measure that set the date, because lawmakers were investigating two Constitutional Council judges whose integrity in the election process has been questioned.”I will begin an open national dialogue to bring together the conditions for a free, transparent and inclusive election,” Sall added, without giving a new date.It is the first time a Senegalese presidential election has been postponed. The decision comes following a dispute between the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court over the rejection of candidates. A November 2023 decree signed by Sall set the election for February 25, with 20 candidates in the running but two major opposition figures excluded.Sall had repeatedly said he would hand over power in early April to the winner of the vote.After announcing he would not run for a third term as president, Sall designated Prime Minister Amadou Ba from his party as his would-be successor.The Constitutional Council has excluded dozens of candidates from the vote, including firebrand anti-system figurehead Ousmane Sonko, who has been jailed since July 2023, and Karim Wade, son of former president Abdoulaye Wade.Wade’s supporters in the National Assembly called for a parliamentary inquiry into the partiality of two judges on the Constitutional Court, and the motion was passed by the Assembly on January 31, with some members of Sall’s party supporting it. Wade was barred from running because he allegedly also holds French citizenship, a decision he denounced as “scandalous”. Meanwhile, Rose Wardini, one of only two women in the approved list of candidates, was detained Friday on charges of allegedly hiding her French citizenship, according to judicial sources.